Radio Social: Not Your Mother’s Bowling Alley

Photography by Katie Finnerty of Katie Finnerty Photography // Blog post by Sarah Knight

For lots of millennials, stepping into a bowling alley gives us plenty of nostalgia. Mostly because they haven’t changed in thirty years. Remember birthday parties in grade school? No windows, sticky floor, the smoky bar and stale pizza. Radio Social turns all of this upside down and gives the bowling alley of our youth the face lift that it desperately needed. It was time. Welcome to Radio Social, it’s not your mother’s bowling alley.

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Owner Dan Morgenstern (former owner of Clover Lanes on Monroe Ave., which closed in March 2016) wanted to keep his bowling business but knew he had to make some serious changes to bring the bowling alley to the twenty-first century. “The Clover brand had a bowling “alley” context that did not allow for a re-imagined entertainment concept nor a re-engineered business model,” said Morgenstern. “The new location is our commitment to the city we love, it’s a commitment to urbanization and bringing economic benefit to the city.”

The new location is our commitment to the city we love, it’s a commitment to urbanization and bringing economic benefit to the city.
— Dan Morgenstern

Radio Social offers 34 bowling lanes, social games like ping-pong, darts, foosball and shuffleboard, a full service restaurant and additional bar, lounge areas, and a back lawn. This awe-inspiring space is located in the historical Stromberg-Carlson manufacturing facility on Carlson Road in the North Winton neighborhood. The name, “Radio Social,” is a tribute to the space, which produced radios and telephones during World War II. Leah Stacy, publicist/social media manager for Radio Social, took me on a grand tour. She endured plenty of “ooohhhs” and “ahhhhs” as she showed me around. I just couldn’t help it. Once you enter, you might look around and ask out loud (to no one in particular), “Am I still in Rochester?” There’s a palpable energy, a certain level of excitement and buzz that you can feel as soon as you walk in. Radio Social is out-of-the box and surprising in all the right ways.

And now for the “re-imagined part.” This is where local restaurant owner Chuck Cerankosky and nationally recognized design firm Staach comes in. Cerankosky, co-owner of popular restaurants Good Luck and Cure, is the director of food and beverage for Radio Social. He created the full-service restaurant and additional bar, as well as the incredibly well-done graphic design for the website and print materials. Then for the finishing touches, bring in Rochester-based, nationally recognized design firm Staach, which specializes in handcrafted furnishings and environments, for interior aesthetics. They partnered with stylist & designer, Hannah Betts of Lives Styled to create an incredible space that is fresh, youthful and oh-so-stylish. The lighting, the furniture, the decor and the million little details all mesh together perfectly. Simply put: there’s nothing else like it. But don’t take my word for it, go and see for yourself (and be sure to bring your mom).